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Jun 20, 2018

Belize International Services Limited Appeals Decision of the Supreme Court

This morning before the Court of Appeal, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay concluded submissions in an appeal challenging a decision handed down by Justice Michelle Arana, in respect of government’s compulsory acquisition of IMMARBE and the International Business Companies Registry in 2013. Both entities fell under the proprietorship of Belize International Services Limited prior to their nationalization. BISL is now seeking millions of dollars in damages following the takeover, having argued that the Government of Belize breached an agreement with the company when it ended a contract that was to expire in 2020. According to Courtenay, the government’s breach cost his clients millions of dollars.


Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for BISL

“The claim is for damages for breach of contract because there was seven years that was remaining on the contract when the government took it over.  We have claimed that the government unlawfully terminated the contract whilst the other side is saying it was done lawfully.”



“Explain to us in what way are you trying to convince the judge that Justice Michelle Arana, if I’m not mistaken, made an error when she ruled the acquisition lawful.”


Eamon Courtenay

“The basic point is this, that the contract provided that the monies that were collected by the registries were paid into two escrow accounts and then certain deductions were made from them.  The balance was split between the company and the government and the money was paid over to the government.  The argument of the government and which Madam Justice Arana accepted was that in fact the money should have been paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and not to the registries.  We have said to the court, for reasons which we don’t need to go into, that what was done under the contract was lawful, but we put an alternative which is if that arrangement of the money going first to these escrow accounts and then to the Consolidated Revenue Fund is unlawful, those terms could have been severed, the government could have come to the company and said, “Listen, we don’t think that this complies with the law.  Let’s amend the contract to bring it into compliance with the law.”  Instead, the government just used its force and might to take away the rest of the contract.  So our argument to the court was that the contract can be severed if the court accepts the position of the government and then we would be entitled to collect damages for the client.”

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